Monrovia — In observance of this year's International Youth Day (IYD), a local youth organization, Action for Justice and Human Rights (AJHR), facilitated a youth symposium bringing together an array of youth organizations to commemorate the day in Liberia.
International Youth Day is an awareness day designated by the United Nations in 1999. Governments and citizens across the world observe the day through various awareness campaigns and events to recognize and bring attention to the problems faced by the youth. The first IYD was observed on August 12, 2000.
AJHR, headed by Ms. Satta Sheriff, organized a youth symposium at the gymnasium of the William V.S. Tubman High School under the theme: "Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its achievements in Liberia."
The SDGs are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges the world face, including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice.
Ms. Sheriff used the occasion to inspire Liberian youth to take bold steps in identifying needs through initiatives tailored around the 17 SDGs. She, likewise, reminded young people that they have a pivotal role to play in the betterment and development of any society with Liberia not being an exemption.
For his part, the president of the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), Mr. Amos Williams, indicated that IYD should not be observed here; rather seen as a day of reflection to addressing youth issues in Liberia.
"The IYD in Liberia shouldn't be celebrated because there is nothing to celebrate due to the downward trend in youth development, unemployment and high increase of at-risk youth, referred to as zogos, leading to increased armed robberies and prostitution that have led to thousands of youth falling prey to challenges that should be addressed by national government," Mr. Williams argued.
A contestant in the just concluded, Big Brabee - Season Two, Ms. Irea Gebia Cooper used the opportunity to motivate young Liberian ladies to compete with their male counterparts, as well as speak out on issues in society to bring about positive change.